Take a look at India and Pakistan, meeting together and deciding the best way forward is to “remain in touch,” “to remain engaged.”
What a world of difference from the Israelis and the Lebanese. There will not be any peace in the Middle East until both parties learn that they need to “remain in touch, and remain engaged.”
As shown in this article that so-called 48-hour cease-fire never really existed. This just shows how ineffectual Rice is as a peace broker, and that her real intent right now is to delay delay delay the world. Give Israel all the time possible to carry out their attacks in Lebanon (which are not having the effect Israel is desiring—on Sunday 146 Hezbollah rockets were fired into Israel, more than at the start of the conflict!).
If in 20 days of fighting to this point, Hezbollah is still firing well over 100 rockets per day into Israel, how does Olmert think he can take down Hezbollah in 10 to 14 more days?
Perhaps it is time for people to start looking into other ways than violence to solve their problems.
I wonder what Rice is thinking as she vainly and pointlessly goes around the Middle East. She keeps talking about wanting peace. But her boss doesn’t want peace until Hezbollah is wiped out. In fact, Bush and his supporters would love nothing more than to have Israel continue their war into Syria.
How can Rice truly be a representative of peace in the Middle East when what she represents are warmongers? There is no other word for people who desire one country to expand a war against one country into another. After the bombing in Qana, where more than 50 civilians including 37 children were killed by an Israeli airstrike, Lebanon’s prime minister told Rice he did not want to meet with her. He knows that Israel can only act as the United States gives it permission to act. He knows that if the United States wished for Israel to stop shooting, they would heed America.
If Rice truly wishes for peace, she needs to no longer represent George W. Bush or the Republicans of the United States of America. If she wants her name synonimous with peace, she needs to let go of all her ties to the Bush Administration. It is impossible for her to be an effective broker for peace while working in the Bush Administration. The reason is simple: Bush wants war. He wants Hezbollah destroyed. He wants Israel to attack Syria. How can his top diplomat even be considered a broker of peace?
It is impossible, and a contradiction in terms, to be called a peacemaker and a warmonger at the same time.
I know, it’s shocking, but take a look:
The Bush administration will impose sanctions on two Indian firms for selling missile parts to Iran, government officials said yesterday, acknowledging privately that the secret decision should have been shared with the House before it voted this week to support U.S. plans to sell nuclear technology to New Delhi.
It is not the first time Indian companies have been sanctioned for supplying Iran’s suspected weapons programs. But the timing of the sanctions, which were not revealed before the vote and are being imposed during fighting between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, elicited angry responses from Democrats and arms-control experts yesterday.
So in other words, the Bush adminstration delayed its report that India was selling missile technology to Iran in order to make sure they got the vote passed in the House. That means that the Bush Administration implicitly approved of India selling technology to Iran, which gives it to Hezbollah to fire on Israelis.
from the Somali Prime Minister:
“Egypt, Libya and Iran, whom we thought were friends, are engaged in fueling the conflict in Somalia by supporting the terrorists,” Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Gedi said, citing unnamed sources within his government.
Remember this number. Three and a half years. 3 and 1/2 years. That’s how long it took Roosevelt to utterly defeat Japan and Germany and fundamentally alter the entire world for generations to come. I bring this up as a comparison to Bush’s war in Iraq. It is almost three and a half years now since he invaded Iraq. Now, as this Washington Post article shows, Bush’s Middle East is in tatters and in flames. Bush’s supporters like to paint his war in the same vein as WWII. Fine. No problem. Let’s compare the two. How long did it take for Roosevelt to complete his wars? Three and a half years. How about Bush? We don’t know how much longer it will take. We do know he has said that he would let the decisions of Iraq be handled by “future generations” and “future presidents.” i.e. he’s going to remain at the status quo in Iraq and let someone else clean up his mess.
Christopher Dickey on the “show” in Rome. Notice that Rice is now in Malaysia, and not shuttling back and forth in the Middle East to try and get peace going. It seems Rome was just a PR show, intended to give Israel more time to destroy Hezbollah. But as Christopher Dickey says, this strategy is actually boosting Hezbollah. He says:
Worthy-sounding meetings of ministers, like the International Conference for Lebanon held in Rome today, rarely get very much done. The participants here were high-powered, to be sure: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the prime minister of the country in question, Fouad Siniora, plus a slew of Europeans and Arabs (but no Israelis or Hizbullahis). Instigated by Washington, it was all for show.
The assembled dignitaries expressed their “determination to work immediately to reach with the utmost urgency a ceasefire” in the war that started two weeks ago today when the Hizbullah militia crossed the border to capture two Israeli soldiers, and Israel responded with a massive counterattack the length and breadth of Lebanon. But, at American insistence, the ceasefire would have to be one that’s “lasting, permanent and sustainable.” Which means the flames searing Lebanon, threatening Israel and endangering the most volatile region in the world will go on for weeks, if not months, to come. The consolation prize: a promise of “immediate humanitarian aid.”
Imagine, if you will, that arsonists have set your apartment block on fire. You call 911 and plead for help. The dispatcher tells you of her “determination to work immediately with the utmost urgency” to douse the flames, but only if plans can be agreed on for the new building to be erected when the decrepit old one has gone up in smoke. She’s stalling, hoping the arsonists will be eliminated by the conflagration. And she’s got a great vision for the way that block should look some day. That’s what counts. Not your furniture, or for that matter, your family inside … No wonder Siniora looked distraught as the conference closed.
But as irrational as the politicians who make policy may be, the professionals in their entourages often understand reality quite well. And in the corridors of today’s conference I met several men and women who, on background or off the record (meaning they were afraid of losing their jobs if caught talking too frankly) laid out a picture of the situation in the Middle East right now that was convincing, frightening, and seems to have escaped the notice of Dispatcher Rice altogether.
The bottom line: Hizbullah is winning. That’s the hideous truth about the direction this war is taking, not in spite of the way the Israelis have waged their counterattack, but precisely because of it. As my source Mr. Frankly put it, “Hizbullah is eating their lunch.”
We’re talking about a militia—a small guerrilla army of a few thousand fighters, in fact—that plays all the dirty games that guerrillas always play. It blends in with the local population. It draws fire against innocents. But it’s also fighting like hell against an Israeli military machine that is supposed to be world class. And despite the onslaught of the much-vaunted Tsahal, Hizbullah continues to pepper Israel itself with hundreds of rockets a day.
The United States, following Israel’s lead, does not want an immediate ceasefire precisely because that would hand Hizbullah a classic guerrilla-style victory: it started this fight against a much greater military force—and it’s still standing. In the context of a region where vast Arab armies have been defeated in days, for a militia to hold out one week, two weeks and more, is seen as heroic. Hizbullah is the aggressor, the underdog and the noble survivor, all at once. “It’s that deadly combination of the expectation game, which Hizbullah have won, and the victim game, which they’ve also won,” as my straight-talking friend put it.
Neither U.S. nor Israeli policymakers have taken this dynamic into account. If they had, they’d understand that with each passing day, no matter how many casualties it takes, Hizbullah’s political power grows. Several of my worldly Lebanese and Arab friends here in Rome today—people who loathe Hizbullah—understand this problem well. Privately they say that’s one of the main reasons they are so horrified at the direction this war has taken: they fear not only that Lebanon will be destroyed, but that Hizbullah will wind up planting its banner atop the mountain of rubble.
When I heard Condi talking in pitiless academic pieties today about “strong and robust” mandates and “dedicated and urgent action,” I actually felt sorry for her, for our government, and for Israel. As in Iraq three years ago, the administration has been blinded to the political realities by shock-and-awe military firepower. Clinging to its faith in precision-guided munitions and cluster bombs, it has decided to let Lebanon bleed, as if that’s the way to build the future for peace and democracy.
No wonder the world will be at total war when the Savior comes again. Who are the publishers of peace in these last days?
Is there any question as to why? Here’s Monsters and Critics:
World leaders discussing the Middle East conflict in Rome agreed on the need for humanitarian aid and an international stabilizing force, with a number calling for a cease-fire, but efforts were undercut by the absence of the warring parties at the table.
Israel was not present. Hezbollah was not present. Syria was not present. Iran was not present.
Is this just another ploy by the United States to buy Israel some more time in their flawed strategy to remove Hezbollah from Lebanon?
then why are we not building our forces up to handle such a massive war? Why are we not raising taxes and asking Americans to make a sacrifice in order to be able to pay for such a war?
People like Newt Grinwich love hyperbole. They know it gets good copy and good airtime, but when confronted with how to pay for it, they back down. Gregory Djerejian brings up this and other massive holes in the logic of warmongers. He quotes Gideon Rachman who says:
But perhaps the most telling argument against the “world war three” thesis is that even many of those advancing it do not appear to believe their own rhetoric. In the same Fox News interview in which Mr Gingrich painted “a worldwide picture of efforts to undermine and destroy our civilisation”, he was asked by a clearly embarrassed interviewer about those who argue that “look, this is a costly war and maybe it includes raising taxes on the upper income to fight it”. Mr Gingrich was having none of it. The third world war will apparently not require “raising a penny in taxes”. Clearly, we are not yet at the blood, sweat and tears phase. The Bush administration is similarly reticent. It argues that we are engaged in a struggle to save western civilisation. But it is still all but inconceivable that the administration would re-introduce the draft – or even sharply raise taxes on petrol – to help win that struggle…
How dare one even conceive of raising taxes! Nothing can come in the way of giving the rich their “fair share” back! Mr. Rachman continues:
Incapable of offering the hope of a decent life (at least on earth), Islamism’s only real recruiting sergeant is an appeal to a sense of Muslim humiliation and rage against the west. There may be further occasions when the “war on terror” requires military action.
But each new military front will be eagerly greeted by Islamists as a validation of their world view. It is no accident that one man who would happily embrace Mr Gingrich’s vision of a “third world war” is Osama bin Laden.
Calls for peace fall on deaf ears in the latter days.
A great article in the Washington Post on how the United States military lost Iraq, moved in the direction of the bloodbath Iraq is today. Highly recommended read. I’m glad to see the military has learned a few things, but I fear it is too late.
Take a look at the response from the Indians who recently just had a horrific attack in their largest city. The Hindustan Times has a section on the Mumbai bombings. Do you see any talk there about taking the fight to the enemy, about saddling up, about war? No. They go after the terrorists, yes, but they don’t start pushing missile buttons at their neighbors as a collective punishment.
Peace actually can work if the people desire to use it.
The Washington Post has a good analysis of the history of Israel’s actions in Lebanon over the past thirty years. This is the third time they’ve entered Lebanon for the specific reason to clear out an enemy. Is this a policy that is working?
Muslims all over the Middle East and beyond are protesting Israel’s actions and praising Hezbollah for standing up to Israel.
Yet events in Lebanon have further mobilized the Shiites across the Muslim world and, if Hezbollah survives the current Israeli onslaught, the sect stands to become even stronger.
My calls for peace fall on deaf ears in these last days, because so many people want violence, have no problem in seeing other people die, no matter where or who they happen to be. It was prophesied that these last days would truly be sad days, with such violence as to make men’s hearts fail them. Why do we choose to destroy other human beings? (I’m speaking to everybody, Israelis, Americans, Iranians, Syrians, etc.).
The irony in all this is that it is those hardcore religionists on both sides that find it easier to fight and kill and maim and destroy. So ironic.
We are losing Iraq. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar, plain and simple. Cordsman and Burke at the CSIS have a great analysis of why we are losing Iraq. The fact that on average, 100 civilians die per day should be a sign that we’ve failed. Also, some have argued that the media are focusing on only the bad in Iraq, and they should paint a broader picture. Well, with modern technology, soldiers in Iraq are doing just that. Showing what they see. Is it rosy? you decide.
Videos uploaded to the internet by soldiers themselves depict, if anything, an even grimmer reality.
However, video is not the only medium, or the only way we remember. In “Combat Diary,” a returning Marine talks about having to drink himself into a stupor every night in order to sleep. Making a music video out the horror of war won’t keep the images from haunting your dreams.
There are even worse ones showing on YouTube. The reality of Iraq is that blood is spilling everywhere, that violence is unabated, and that, according to one YouTube video I saw, some American soldiers over there believe they are in Iraq to avenge the 9/11 attacks. With that in mind, just how are they going to view regular Iraqis?
In an article in the Ensign in January, 1973, Ezra Taft Benson said the following:
Let me ask, do we need a true prophet of the Lord on the earth today? Did the people in Noah’s day need a prophet to warn them spiritually and temporally? Had a man refused to follow Noah, would he have been saved from the flood? Yet the Bible tells us that in the last days in which we live, the wickedness of the people will become comparable to the wickedness of the people in Noah’s day when God cleansed the earth by flood. Do you think we need a prophet today to warn us and prepare us for the cleansing that God promised will come, this time by fire?
We know why God destroyed the world through a flood. He said to Noah in the book of Moses:
28 The earth was corrupt before God, and it was filled with violence.
29 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its away upon the earth.
30 And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and behold I will destroy all flesh from off the earth.
Anyone who advocates for violence and war in these last days are not advocating for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A great article from the Cato Institute on the vision that neo-conservatives have of the world. Just today, two op-eds in the LA Times talked about letting Israel do its thing, and about possibly striking Syria and Iran. Just a few days ago, Kristol was talking about striking Iran. In the Weekly Standard, Kristol says, this is our war too. War War War!
Who talks of peace these days?
Israel is claiming that Iran is behind the kidnapping for the express purpose of distracting the world’s attention from its nuclear program. Fair enough. But if that’s the case, why did Israel bite? Why did Israel take the bait? Which priority is more important for Israel? Getting the international community to halt Iran’s nuclear program or getting their two soldiers back?
From the Hindustan Times, probably the best advice on how to protect Israel, from a nation that also deals with terrorist attacks.
Suggestions of restraint usually fall on deaf ears in Tel Aviv because, understandably, they either sound naive or hostile to Israeli ears. But the strongest reason for Israel to show restraint is Israel’s security. In India, there have been hawks galore who have suggested ‘hot pursuit’ after terrorist strikes on our soil. Fortunately, neither this government or the previous one has considered it — not for abstract, airy-fairy reasons but for practical ones. Israel’s sledgehammer-to-kill-a-fly policy has only resulted in swarms of flies erupting. Clearly, this tactic hasn’t worked. Instead, it has fed its enemies’ appetite. Israel needs to check its rage, if for nothing else, for its own well-being.
I’m not sure what to say about this. Bush apparently reached behind Merkel, the German Chancellor, gave her a quick rub on the shoulders and walked on. Look at her reaction. She doth not look very happy about that. One of the commentators on this blog said the following:
Seeing her wince made me wince.
In German culture, this approaches being unforgiveable. Nowhere is it appropriate, but Germans have one of the most sharply defined sense of privacy and space of any culture, even more so than frequently contact-phobic North Americans. This was a bully showing who was boss.
Really, what type of married man puts his hands in a familiar way on the shoulders of a woman other than his wife?
I never liked Bush but until today I did not actually hate him. I feel like writing a letter of apology on behalf of 295 million Americans, most of whom know better.
Just earlier you’ve got Bush cussing like a 13 year old to the Prime Minister of Britain. Michael Hirsh writes:
As he munched on a roll, Bush told the British prime minister, with whom he is very familiar terms: “See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbullah to stop doing this s–t and it’s over.” Bush added that he felt like telling U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who visited the gathered leaders, to get on the phone with Syrian President Bashar Assad to “make something happen.”
We don’t have Blair’s answer to that remark. But another question might be: why doesn’t Bush himself make something happen? And to whom was Bush referring when he told Blair that “they” need to pressure Syria? If “they” meant Annan and the U.N., it is true that under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, the world body has officially demanded that Syria stop its interference in Lebanon, including its support of Hizbullah. But the U.N. Security Council generally has little capacity to act on its own, and certainly no enforcement ability. The Council is mainly a tool of the major powers. It is prime ministers and presidents like Bush who are the ones who generally put teeth into those U.N. resolutions.
Interesting that the “decider” shifts the burden of action off to others in this case. Could it be that politically speaking at home, action against Syria at this time is imprudent? After all, you’ve got Congressional elections happening in just a few months.
Another interesting perspective on Bush’s potty-mouthing Syria:
Personally, I could care less that a grown man used a swear word when speaking to another grown man. I’m more disturbed that the President used “irony” to describe what seemed to be an entirely unironic situation. Have we learned nothing from Alanis Morrisette?
Perhaps Bush needs a lesson on what is ironic and what is not.
The real irony is that this is what many conservatives call a “statesman.” Now THAT is ironic. Arianna Huffington, though, excoriates the ineptitude on display at the G-8 meeting on the part of Bush:
Churchill it ain’t.
Indeed, it says all you need to know about how this president’s disastrous mismanagement of foreign policy has undermined America’s standing in the world.
The Middle East is teetering on the brink, and the President of the United States is reduced to sitting on the sidelines, helplessly ruminating on what “they” need to do to try and broker a settlement.
Even worse, he tells Blair: “I felt like telling Kofi to get on the phone with Assad and make something happen.”
You want irony? How about a president who has shown nothing but disdain for the UN, wistfully fantasizing about being bailed out by an organization his man John Bolton felt could lose 10 stories of its headquarters without it making “a bit of difference.”
You want impotence? How about a president who is so paralyzed he doesn’t even tell Kofi to make the call.
For those not familiar with what a secret combination is, I refer you to the wikipedia section on it. It states:
In the Latter Day Saint scriptures, including the Bible, Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, a secret combination is an evil fraternal organization which exists for the purpose of the economic and political advancement of its members at the expense of righteous people, believers in Christ, and society at large. Towards these ends, members of a secret combination commit murder, robbery, and acts of war and each member of the society is bound by an oath to maintain secrecy, as well as to do whatever is necessary to prevent the member’s discovery, apprehension, and prosecution.
The Swifboat Veterans for Truth fit that description to a T. David Johnson on the Patriot Project has a good analysis of this secret combination, its ties to Republican leaders and their malicious efforts to undermine and destroy otherwise good people.
You have to question why Republicans want to use such tactics. Can’t they stand on their own principles?